Man killed work colleague before jumping to his death, inquest told

An insurance manager was bludgeoned in a hotel room by a work colleague who then smashed a window and leapt to his death, an inquest heard.

Tom Noakes, 29, from Eccles, Greater Manchester, was fatally struck at least six times around his head with a Magnum size bottle of Prosecco by Hayden Fitzpatrick, 21, at the Britannia Hotel in Manchester city centre in the early hours of September 26 last year.

Manchester Coroner’s Court heard the “callous, frenzied and seemingly unprovoked” assault took place following a night out with fellow employees at Swinton Insurance.

Both men had booked a room at the Portland Street hotel as their colleagues drifted away during the evening of September 25.

Detective Inspector Andrew Butterworth, of Greater Manchester Police, told the hearing that officers were called to reports of a man falling from the fifth floor of the hotel shortly after 5.30am.

The body of Mr Fitzpatrick was discovered and a hotel room key card in his wallet led police to find Mr Noakes who was sitting in a chair with head injuries and later pronounced dead at the scene by paramedics.

The window on to the ledge of the fifth floor room had been smashed with a fire extinguisher.

Police inquires established the pair had purchased cocaine and the large bottle of Prosecco during the night

Examination of Mr Noakes’s phone also revealed access to the Grindr social networking app and that another male visited their room at 3.30am and left just under an hour later.

Mr Butterworth said that Mr Noakes and Mr Fitzpatrick were both still alive up to 4.45am.

He confirmed that had Mr Fitzpatarick survived he would have been charged with murder but no motive had been established.

He added that detectives were still trying to access Mr Fitzpatrick’s encrypyted phone which was found at the scene.

In a statement, Mr Noakes’s mother, Angela, said her son had disclosed to the family he was gay when aged 19.

Referring to Mr Fitzpatrick, she said: “They were never in a relationship and Tom didn’t fancy him and felt Hayden was clingy around him, craved attention and did not like to be told no.

“Hayden has robbed us of him and we are devastated.”

Recording a verdict of unlawful killing, Assistant Coroner Andrew Bridgman said: “At some point between 4.45am and 5.30am Tom was subjected to what can only be described as a callous, frenzied and seemingly unprovoked assault by Hayden Fitzpatrick – someone who Tom knew very well.

“Tom was found seated in a chair with no defensive injuries which leads me to the conclusion that it was the first blow that was struck by Hayden Fitzpatrick that would have rendered Tom unconscious.”

He said the further blows that were delivered to his head and face could only be described as “gratuitous violence”.

He continued: “Why Tom was struck in the first instance will always remain a mystery, as will why Hayden Fitzpatrick continued to assault Tom in this way. We will probably never know the answer and I accept that will be very difficult for Tom’s mother, family and friends to live with.”

An inquest into Mr Fitzpatrick’s death will take place next month.

Following the inquest, Mr Noakes’s family said: “Tom was a much loved and loving son, brother, uncle and friend to many. His death has left a gaping hole in all our hearts and our lives will be never the same again.

“Tom loved his life, family, work and friends and was funny, caring, honest and compassionate. Words cannot begin to explain the loss and sadness we all feel every minute of every hour since his death.

“We would like to thank all our friends and Tom’s friends and work colleagues for the love you have shown for Tom and support you have given us – his family – over the past nine months. We could not have got through this horrendous time without you. As Tom would say, ‘love you Babes’.”